There are certain things so many people do when riding in a vehicle that they never think twice about, and one of them is placing their legs on the dashboard.
Day in and out, I drive by cars in which somebody is doing just that. It's an easy and comfortable way to stretch your legs without leaving the vehicle, especially when travelling a long distance.
However, having your legs up in that manner is potentially dangerous, and can lead to some serious lifelong problems and even death.
Audra Tatum was riding in the passenger seat with her legs crossed and one foot on the dashboard while her husband was driving.
The Georgia woman wasn't wearing a seatbelt either, and although her husband explained that her actions were risky, Tatum didn't heed his warning.
"All my life I had my legs crossed and my foot on the dash," Tatum told CBS News. "My husband always told me, 'You're going to get in a wreck someday, and you're going to break your legs.'"
Unfortunately, their vehicle crashed into another car and deployed the airbag. Her foot came into contact with her face, and she ended up with a broken nose, ankle, femur and arm.
"The airbag went off, throwing my foot up and breaking my nose," Tatum recalled. "I was looking at the bottom of my foot facing up at me. Basically my whole right side was broken, and it’s simply because of my ignorance."
Doctors predicted that if the airbag was absent, her injuries could've been much worse.
She underwent multiple surgeries and physical therapy, and couldn't walk for over a month. To this day, Tatum walks with a limp. It has been three years, but Tatum still cannot stand for more than four hours at a time, and it's affected her career as an EMS.
She's been sharing the story of her gruesome accident ever since to bring attention to a dangerous practice that so many passengers mindlessly do every day.
"I keep telling everybody, you don’t want this life,” she said. “You don’t want the pain and agony every day."
Experts, law enforcement authorities and even fire departments have also been warning people about having their feet up on the dashboard.
The Chattanooga Fire Department did their part by posting a warning on Facebook in which they reminded people that "airbags deploy between 100 & 220 MPH," so "if you ride with your feet on the dash and you're involved in an accident, the airbag may send your knees through your eye sockets."
In a separate interview with NewsChannel 9, Tatum admitted that she has regrets "every single day," before adding, "Every hour of every day because every time I put pressure on my leg I feel it… Do not sit like that. If you sit like that you’re asking for it."